Can Chen save the ‘pen?

Orioles manager Buck Showalter used four relievers last night to cover the final four innings of a 7-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

Showalter used Tommy Hunter for a second consecutive game, but he avoided closer Jim Johnson, who hasn’t pitched since Saturday. He’s rested and ready tonight if there’s a save situation.

Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland hasn’t pitched since Thursday in Oakland. He’s been used once since April 21, totaling one inning.

He’s rested, ready and probably a bit antsy.

Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen is the only Orioles starter to complete seven innings. He worked a career-high eight scoreless innings Friday night in Oakland, allowing only two hits, walking two and striking out five.

Showalter would gladly take a similar effort tonight.

It was the third time in Chen’s career that he held an opponent scoreless during a start and the third time he allowed as few as two hits.

Chen has posted four consecutive quality starts. He hasn’t surrendered a run in 13 innings.

Chen has won consecutive starts after going 10 straight without a victory from Aug. 19, 2012-April 14, 2013. But in his last 30 starts, the Orioles have scored three runs or fewer while he was in the game 20 times.

They don’t make it easy on him.

In two career starts against the Mariners, both at Safeco Field, Chen is 0-0 with a 2.84 ERA in 12 2/3 innings. He struck out nine, then a career-high, on July 3, 2012.

The Orioles have won both of Chen’s starts against against the Mariners.

As for the bullpen, it posted four scoreless innings last night and has pitched to a 2.70 ERA in six games and 16 2/3 innings on this road trip. Orioles relievers have posted a 2.49 ERA on the season, second-best in the American League to Minnesota’s 2.30.

Since the start of the 2012 season, the Orioles’ bullpen is second in the American League with a 2.93 ERA, trailing only Oakland (2.91).

Perhaps Nate McLouth can set the tone again tonight, as he did last night with his 11th career leadoff home run.

You know that McLouth is on quite a roll. He’s reached base safely in 24 of his last 41 plate appearances. Over his last 10 games, he’s batting .385 (16-for-33) with eight walks and 14 runs scored. But did you know that he’s scuffled against Mariners starter Aaron Harang?

McLouth is 3-for-27 (.111) lifetime against Harang, who takes the mound tonight for Seattle.

J.J. Hardy, who registered his second two-hit game of the season last night, is 6-for-24 (.250) with three home runs.

New backup catcher Chris Snyder is 5-for-12 with a home run and three RBIs, but he won’t be in the lineup.

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